Banning Incandescent Light Bulbs

There\’s a few points to be made about this announcement from Hilary Benn:

The traditional lightbulb will disappear from shops under a two year timetable announced by Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary.

The first is that it\’s not really a big decision. As the article notes we\’re signed up to an EU regulation that bans them anyway. What\’s left for our domestic politician (the one we vote for) is announcing how it will be done: not whether. Defra is simply a branch office these days.

But there is a price for consumers because CFLs are more expensive and require more energy to make.

The second is that the expense is at least party to do with the EU itself. There\’s a 66% import duty on CFLs from China. As Tebaf Margot pointed out recently, they\’re discussing whether to lift this or not. Decision in a year or so.

The third is that Greenpeace really are a group of know nothing little shits:

John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said: "This initiative, which will reduce the UK\’s CO2 emissions and finally begin to consign these hugely energy wasteful bulbs to the history books, is long overdue.

"However, almost all of the retailers involved have already committed to removing these bulbs ahead of 2011 after a campaign by Greenpeace.

"We think the Government needs to go further and introduce tough mandatory efficiency standards rather than relying on weak voluntary initiatives.

"For every year of delay in getting rid of these bulbs, five million tonnes of C02 are emitted into the atmosphere, unnecessarily."

Along wih your desires there is the necessity of looking at how the world really is. Current world capacity for CFL manufacture is 1 billion a year or so ( calculated from the capacity and order book of one of my customers, who manufacture a vital part). Given the time it takes to build a new manufacturing plant, or to convert an old one, if we banned incandescents in 2008, or 2009, it wouldn\’t mean people buying the lovely CFLs. It would mean their being able to buy no bulbs at all.

Sorry to have to break it to you but it does actually take time to redirect an entire manufacturing industry.

14 comments on “Banning Incandescent Light Bulbs

  1. “Along wih your desires there is the necessity of looking at how the world really is. “

    I doubt that worries the typical Greenpeace member; muumy & daddy have set up a trust fund to cover all eventualities, after all…

  2. It’s standard environmental logic: ignore the inappropriate figures. My energy-saving lightbulbs put out more light but less heat, my normal bulbs put out more heat and less light. Heat in many circumstances, e.g. my home during autumn, is not wasted but rather a beneficial by-product. I’m fine for these new bulbs as they let me target my energy use more specifically but they aren’t the screw-in messiah.

  3. I must remember to buy a bulk supply of those incandescent lovelies. A gross should see me out.

    Despite what the fanatics say, the energy-savers DON’T fit in all circumstances. Why should I replace table and other lamps I chose specifically because I like them and they suit my decor just to switch bulb types?

  4. So I have two years to replace all the dimmer switches in my house with regular on/off ones then. Which means, the ten little bulbs in my lounge, rather than being on 10% power most of the time, will be 100% on all the time.

    That’s what I call energy efficiency…

  5. @ Philip – that only works if you have electric central heating: generating heat through light-bulbs is about 50% as energy-efficient as using your gas central heating system (because of the entropy-related energy losses in electricity generation. Ask a physicist.)

    @ Infoholic – you can get dimmable CFLs. Like this one [also, if the little bulbs in your lounge are halogen spots rather than conventional incandescent bulbs, they’re not covered by the regulation].

  6. john b :

    They’re not halogen spots, they’re ickle 40w pearls.

    Thanks for the link, but any spiral bulb is going to stick halfway out of the shade and look utterly naff. And the (admittedly singular) review is not exactly encouraging either.

    This on the other hand, looks more promising.

  7. John B, I was aware, I’m actually a scientist myself (though in a different field). I was merely pointing out that the savings are routinely overstated because heat gets falsely labelled as waste. Your point about entropy is why I think microCHP needs talking up. The savings are potentially far more than by banning incandescents.

  8. If I stockpile the old-fashioned sort in my attic, I presume they’ll not deteriorate until I use them. Anyone know?

  9. Don’t think there’s anything in them to ‘go off’. And they are small and light too, so storage is not a problem.

    But you’d better be quick. You won’t be the only one….

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